In a world of infinite combinations, some things are just meant to be together, like peanut butter and jelly. Or cookies and milk. Eggs and bacon. Popcorn and real butter. Grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup.
Think about it for a minute or two. What's are some of your favorite food pairings? I'm a lot like Remy and have many, many favorites. Here are just a few that immediately come to mind:
Olive oil and butter - I know - you don't eat it, but it's great for cooking because the olive oil allows for a higher smoke point (temperature that oil begins to break down and produce bluish smoke) while the butter gives a great taste
Tomato and basil - goes on just about anything (bruschetta, fish fillets, pasta, scrambled eggs . . . .)
Nutella and fruits - a recent discovery at our house; it's delicious with almost any fruit on toast and it makes the best grilled sandwiches with fruit, marshmallows, caramel . . . .
Peanut Butter and apples - pb is great for sandwiches or getting kids to eat celery, but my favorite way to eat peanut butter is with crisp apples
Cream Cheese - I haven't found anything I don't like cream cheese with - yet . . . .
I make most of the bread our family eats. We're not bread snobs or anything like that. I just really enjoy making bread - all kinds of bread. Fresh bread is fantastic, but what about the day after? We're a small family, so there's always "day old" bread in the house. Bruschetta is one of many great ways to use up any day old (or older) bread or even pound cake.
Bruschetta is wonderful in the summertime, when it's too hot to even think about cooking . It's easy and fast to make and the bread choices and topping combinations are limitless. It's also versatile. It can be an appetizer, the main course, or even a dessert.
Almost any bread works for bruschetta, but I prefer French or Country Loaf. I would recommend using a dense bread or a day-old bread rather than bread that is fresh because it'll hold up better. Brioche loaf is really good for the sweeter, dessert-type bruschettas. None of the bakeries in Sioux Falls (as far as I'm aware) make a brioche loaf, but I did find an excellent recipe in Ina Garten's "Barefoot in Paris" cookbook. Not only does it make a superb loaf of bread, it's super-easy and (bonus) you don't have to knead it! Ina Garten is one of my favorite chefs and I LOVE this cookbook! It's full of easy, elegant, delicious recipes!!
Did you know pound cake also works really well as a dessert-style bruschetta? I'm not sure if there is such a thing as a "dessert bruschetta", but we have it in our house whenever there's a little pound cake or brioche loaf left over. I use the same preparation technique and top it with things like nutella and strawberries, bananas, or apples or peanut butter blended with cream cheese and marshmallow creme and bananas or apples and shaved chocolate (yum!) or marshmallow creme mixed with cream cheese and topped with any combination of fruit (like strawberries, kiwis, and melon).
For those of you not yet acquainted with Nutella, check out this site: http://www.msadventuresinitaly.com/blog/2009/02/04/nutella-virgin-50-ways-to-eat-nutella-and-nutella-lover-types/. It'll help you become more familiar with Nutella and all it's wonderful uses!
I've included a recipe for a simple bruschetta below, but feel free to think beyond traditional recipes. You are only limited by your imagination when it comes to topping bruschetta, in my opinion. Get a little crazy and have a little fun. What combinations do you like? What sounds good to you? If you're looking for a little inspiration, look to some of your favorite recipes. Cantaloupe or honey dew melon wrapped in prosciutto is a traditional Italian recipe. What if you used it as a topping for bruschetta? Instead of wrapping the melon slice in prosciutto, dice the melon and chop the prosciutto, add a pinch of salt and maybe a little basil and - voila! Or, instead of cantaloupe, what about watermelon with a pinch of salt and a little mint? . . . .
One tip before we get to the recipe: TASTE as you go along! If you're not sure, add just a little of any ingredient. You can always add more, if the dish you're preparing needs it, but it you add too much well . . . .
Please let me know if you have any recipes, tips, or techniques you’d like to share. They’re always welcome! And, if you try any of the recipes and want to share them, please send a photo along with any comments to me. I’ll publish them in the next post!
And, if you have any questions about this recipe or a technique, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll do my best to answer it!
Next Week: The incredible, edible egg!
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